NHL offers the players a 50/50 split

Jonathan Willis
October 16 2012 11:21AM

According to multiple reports, the NHL has made a new offer to the players’ association during their meeting today. One portion the proposal is the offer of a 50/50 split of hockey-related revenue with the players.

The following via TSN:

The NHL put a new offer on the bargaining table for the NHL Players' Association on Tuesday morning, which includes a 50/50 split of hockey-related revenue and contingent on an 82-game season beginning Nov. 2.

So, under the NHL offer, we'd see a slightly more compact schedule, but the league would still get in a full 82 games, which is good news for everyone involved. The part that will likely be hard to swallow is the NHL's demand that players drop to 50 percent immediately, rather shifting gradually to that figure over a year or two.

The really interesting component of the deal is that it appears the league would pay players for a full season, if an 82-game schedule is possible once the deal is agreed to. From Elliotte Friedman:

I'd expect the key thing for players to discuss is what sounds like an NHL offer to "return" whatever is lost on their salaries this season.

Meanwhile, Donald Fehr tells the media that the proposed CBA would be at least a six year deal, and that the players will discuss the new offer at a 5 PM conference call. For now, he seems to be keeping his comments short, but he did say that the NHLPA would get back to the owners on this new offer soon - by Tuesday or Wednesday.
 
My initial reaction is that this obviously won't be the final offer that gets things settled, but this might be the offer that kickstarts earnest negotiations on key financial issues. If the players are willing to accept 50 percent of hockey-related revenue, or something in the ball park, this should trigger a counter-proposal from them, with my guess being that they target both the implementation period (in other words: asking for a gradual reduction to 50/50 rather than a sharp step down) and the 50 percent total.
 
These negotiations have been frustrating for everyone, but this is a perfect example of why constant talks are preferable to total silence - eventually, one side or the other will say something that catches the attention of their counterparts. Hockey fans longing for a 2012-13 season just need to hope that this is the offer that finally catches the players' interest. 
 
If it doesn't, that's probably the last hope for a full 82-game campaign. And if the league starts cutting games permanently, that's exactly the sort of thing that could lead to worse offers the rest of the way.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 RyanCoke
October 16 2012, 03:05PM
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DSF wrote:

The Nuts and Bolts:

REVENUE SPLIT: 50-50 (players received 57 per cent last year)

LENGTH OF CBA: six years (old one covered seven years)

ARBITRATION: unchanged

AHL: Salaries in for players in minors part of the cap (minor league salaries don’t count currently)

CONTRACT LIMITS: five years (no limits currently)

ENTRY LEVEL CONTRACTS: limited to four years (up from three)

REVENUE SHARING: $200 million pool (currently about $100 million)

It was stated over an hour ago that the 4 year entry level deal change was misinformed and was retracted. Also the new CBA would be at least 6 years, still no further details. I never heard anything about the AHL players counting to the salary cap but I can see players like wade redden who were on 1 way deals but got demoted to bury there salary may be counting towards the cap as that is the example given on the radio.

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#52 DSF
October 16 2012, 03:06PM
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Shaun wrote:

I don't think the initial offer was ridiculous. In most negotiations, you draw a line in the sand that is very favorable for your side, and the other side does the same. That's what happened in this case, BUT the players' side took it too personally, when the reality is that it was just a negotiation tactic and truly "nothing personal." By that same token, the players getting Alberta and Quebec labour boards involved was just a tactic. The NHL didn't take it personally.

I'm not saying the owners side is definitively "right" in all of this, but frankly, they were coming at the process from a purely business perspective. The players approached that from a "how dare you lowball us" perspective and refused to seriously negotiate because of it. Honestly -- read some of the RECENT player tweets. Many of them still cite the owners' original offer, when the reality is that they should have gotten over it, and not taken it personally.

After spending decades in sales and negotiating, I can tell you "lowballing" someone is about the worst negotiating tactic you can employ.

If you had your house on the market and were asking $225,000 when the established market value was around $200,000 and I came in with an offer of $125,000, you would walk away shaking your head.

That's what happened here.

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#53 DSF
October 16 2012, 03:09PM
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RyanCoke wrote:

It was stated over an hour ago that the 4 year entry level deal change was misinformed and was retracted. Also the new CBA would be at least 6 years, still no further details. I never heard anything about the AHL players counting to the salary cap but I can see players like wade redden who were on 1 way deals but got demoted to bury there salary may be counting towards the cap as that is the example given on the radio.

Both sides want to do away with the practise of burying NHL salaries in the AHL.

The players hate it because someone like Redden could still be a productive NHL player.

And the owners, generally, hate it because it gives rich teams an advantage not predicted in the CBA.

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#54 RyanCoke
October 16 2012, 03:16PM
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@DSF

Yeah I agree with that as well but the original comment sounded as though all 2 way contracts would count to the cap as well. Someone like paajarvi or hartihymen would count to the NHL cap even though they play in the AHL

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#55 nathan
October 16 2012, 03:16PM
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It's pretty clear now that hockey will start up again in November. The question is 2012 or 2013?

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#56 RyanCoke
October 16 2012, 03:19PM
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nathan wrote:

It's pretty clear now that hockey will start up again in November. The question is 2012 or 2013?

It's just an offer to get the ball rolling we still have to hear what the PA has to say about it.

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#57 nathan
October 16 2012, 03:23PM
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@RyanCoke

Sure. And if the ball doesn't roll in November this won't end until heads roll next November.

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#58 Bill
October 16 2012, 03:24PM
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Hmmm, the players were at 57 in the last CBA and the owners lowball at 43, then come back to 50 with this offer. Halfway....Easy Peasy, right?

Gotta do something about contract length from the owners' perspective as well, as well as free agency eligibility. Maybe these requirements can be blunted somewhat with an acceptance of 50% of revenues by the players.

Just get it done, you fools.

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#59 BleedingOil
October 16 2012, 03:28PM
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DSF wrote:

Bettman's initial offer was ridiculous and insulted the players.

Had it been like the offer presented today, the season would have started on time.

so what exactly did the NHL have to start with? If they start with the latest offer, then what do they have to give up. Imagine going in and paying ticket price on a new car?

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#60 RyanCoke
October 16 2012, 03:29PM
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nathan wrote:

Sure. And if the ball doesn't roll in November this won't end until heads roll next November.

Maybe but if they really want to be stubborn we can lose hockey forever or until a new hockey organization starts up. Nothing says there must be hockey by any time frame.

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#61 WeridAl
October 16 2012, 03:33PM
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If the players don't take the 50/50 offer, things could get ugly quick and fan support would go to the owners.

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#62 Archaeologuy
October 16 2012, 03:33PM
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DSF wrote:

Both sides want to do away with the practise of burying NHL salaries in the AHL.

The players hate it because someone like Redden could still be a productive NHL player.

And the owners, generally, hate it because it gives rich teams an advantage not predicted in the CBA.

But with the advent of the jillion year contract along-side guaranteed contracts it was the only way teams could fix mistakes without it affecting their Cap situation.

My alternative would be an option to buy out a player at full price of contract with no Cap hit. But it's a silly thing for the players to complain about, IMO. Guys like Redden are making 100% of their salary instead of being bought out for pennies on the dollar.

Be happy the contract is guaranteed and take the money. (Just an Opinion)

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#63 Archaeologuy
October 16 2012, 03:35PM
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WeridAl wrote:

If the players don't take the 50/50 offer, things could get ugly quick and fan support would go to the owners.

I'm already on the Owner's side, but yeah. Players will hear it from fans the minute this offer is rejected, even if they have the right to counter propose an offer.

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#64 BleedingOil
October 16 2012, 03:43PM
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DSF wrote:

After spending decades in sales and negotiating, I can tell you "lowballing" someone is about the worst negotiating tactic you can employ.

If you had your house on the market and were asking $225,000 when the established market value was around $200,000 and I came in with an offer of $125,000, you would walk away shaking your head.

That's what happened here.

correction.....

The worst tactic is not advertising your asking price. Without an asking price, a consumer would be utterly stupid to offer fair market value, unless you are in to making people who spend decades in sales and negotiating very, very rich. You speak from a vendor point of view sir, and the league and the cans are the consumers.

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#65 BleedingOil
October 16 2012, 03:46PM
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

Dude, you are making too much sense lately. I'm kinda missing the old reliable DSF. Can you tell me how Yakupov has no chance in hell of winning the Calder, just for old time sakes:)

maybe the KHL is recognized as a professional league and he will be "Gretzky'd" out of his trophy.

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#66 Pouzar99
October 16 2012, 04:02PM
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@Old Soldier

I hate to agree with DSF but the initial 'offer' by the owners was a sick joke, which poisoned the negotiations from the beginning. Obviously you are going to understate your ultimate position, but 43% of HRR? 5 year entry level contracts when the average career is five years? An additional five years as an RFA with no arbitration? 10 years until FA? Rollbacks on the contracts owners signed supposedly in good faith?

The NHLPA passive aggressive response was really the only choice they had. Now THIS appears to be a legitimate proposal. Apparently to get straight to 50% much of the contract money will be deferred, so we will have to see how that works. Deferred for how long? What about interest? Also we will need details on how the AHL salaries will included, as that could be a deal breaker if it isn't just a way or preventing circumventing the cap as with Redden.

The NHLPA must put the offer under a microscope, confer with the players and return with a counteroffer. If there are no hidden bombs in the NHL offer than I suspect they can reach an agreement in time to start on Nov. 2. Still too early to say I guess but if the NHL had opened at 47% or 48% and not included the outrageous demands on player freedom we would be talking about the Oilers' start to the season instead of wondering whether there will be one.

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#67 TigerUnderGlass
October 16 2012, 05:37PM
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I recall posting, when the offer was made, that it was stupid and I got blasted. Suddenly everyone agrees huh?

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#68 Wanyes bastard child
October 16 2012, 05:45PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

I recall posting, when the offer was made, that it was stupid and I got blasted. Suddenly everyone agrees huh?

Yer stoopid

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#69 Wanyes bastard child
October 16 2012, 06:08PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

I know you are but what am I?

I'm rubber and your glue, what you say bounces off me and sticks to you!

And Jeter is still overrated ;) Or was he underrated? Dammit... I can't remember the argument and now my joke is less funny :(

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#70 DSF
October 16 2012, 08:37PM
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BleedingOil wrote:

so what exactly did the NHL have to start with? If they start with the latest offer, then what do they have to give up. Imagine going in and paying ticket price on a new car?

Nonsense.

The offer today cuts the players share of HRR from 57 to to 50 percent.

When you do the math, the first offer cut the players share by 25 percent.

Todays offer cuts the players share by 12 percent.

Walk into any car dealership and offer 25 percent off sticker and they'll laugh you out of the showroom.

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#71 DSF
October 16 2012, 08:38PM
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Pouzar99 wrote:

I hate to agree with DSF but the initial 'offer' by the owners was a sick joke, which poisoned the negotiations from the beginning. Obviously you are going to understate your ultimate position, but 43% of HRR? 5 year entry level contracts when the average career is five years? An additional five years as an RFA with no arbitration? 10 years until FA? Rollbacks on the contracts owners signed supposedly in good faith?

The NHLPA passive aggressive response was really the only choice they had. Now THIS appears to be a legitimate proposal. Apparently to get straight to 50% much of the contract money will be deferred, so we will have to see how that works. Deferred for how long? What about interest? Also we will need details on how the AHL salaries will included, as that could be a deal breaker if it isn't just a way or preventing circumventing the cap as with Redden.

The NHLPA must put the offer under a microscope, confer with the players and return with a counteroffer. If there are no hidden bombs in the NHL offer than I suspect they can reach an agreement in time to start on Nov. 2. Still too early to say I guess but if the NHL had opened at 47% or 48% and not included the outrageous demands on player freedom we would be talking about the Oilers' start to the season instead of wondering whether there will be one.

This.

Exactly.

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#72 DSF
October 16 2012, 08:39PM
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

Dude, you are making too much sense lately. I'm kinda missing the old reliable DSF. Can you tell me how Yakupov has no chance in hell of winning the Calder, just for old time sakes:)

No chance.

None at all.

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#73 DSF
October 16 2012, 08:41PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

But with the advent of the jillion year contract along-side guaranteed contracts it was the only way teams could fix mistakes without it affecting their Cap situation.

My alternative would be an option to buy out a player at full price of contract with no Cap hit. But it's a silly thing for the players to complain about, IMO. Guys like Redden are making 100% of their salary instead of being bought out for pennies on the dollar.

Be happy the contract is guaranteed and take the money. (Just an Opinion)

I don't disagree but the GM who made the mistake should have to wear it.

See Horcoff, Shawn for reference.

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#74 Archaeologuy
October 16 2012, 09:03PM
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DSF wrote:

I don't disagree but the GM who made the mistake should have to wear it.

See Horcoff, Shawn for reference.

Yeah but what good is it for the players or the owners, really? Not being able to "fix" mistakes means the owners have less incentive to overpay the players and less flexibility in the system.

Neither should "want" this aspect of the CBA and yet both appear to do exactly that.

Wacky.

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#75 DSF
October 16 2012, 09:07PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Yeah but what good is it for the players or the owners, really? Not being able to "fix" mistakes means the owners have less incentive to overpay the players and less flexibility in the system.

Neither should "want" this aspect of the CBA and yet both appear to do exactly that.

Wacky.

The common good is that it makes incompetent GM's pay for their mistakes.

I'm all for that and I expect most team and players would agree.

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#76 DSF
October 16 2012, 09:22PM
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Pierre LeBrun ‏@Real_ESPNLeBrun

More on NHL offer: calls for 2012-13 salary cap of $59.9 million but teams can go over up to $70.2 million in Year 1 as part of transition

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#77 Greerzy1
October 17 2012, 09:10PM
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@DSF

I agree. This was an opener, but the deal is far from done. I don't see howanybody can see that this is a good deal if you put yourself in the players shoes. If you take the scales of economy out of the equation, and apply these numbers to your own personal situation, would you take the deal? I kow that I wouldn't, especially after I give an effective 25% of my salary to meet the employers current agreement.

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